Due to unforeseen technical issues we have had to build a new version of www.lesfaircloth.co.uk and this time we are using WordPress. The website was initially created back in 2011 and this will be its third iteration.
Some text, images and photographs are still to be added, so please return shortly to see how we are getting on.
The website again contains the story of the last crew of Avro Lancaster Mk. III ND424 (PH-G) of 12 Squadron Bomber Command, based at RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire. They flew around 17 operations together during May and June 1944 mostly in ND424.
Their 17th and final operation was in ND424 on an operation to attack the Vaires-sur-Marne railway marshalling yards on the eastern outskirts of Paris on the night of 27/28 June 1944. This was in support of the allied advance following the D-Day landings just three weeks earlier on 6th June.
They took off from Wickenby at 00:29, flew via their waypoint at Gravesend in Kent, then suffered engine problems approaching the target but dropped their bombs as planned between 03:00 and 03:06. While over the target they were hit by flak and were soon losing height rapidly, so the pilot gave the order to abandon aircraft.
All seven of the crew parachuted safely from the stricken Lancaster to the south west of Paris. Four of the crew evaded capture (EVD) and three became prisoners of war (POW). The crew were:
- Pilot Officer Michael Alexander Guilfoyle (Pilot). POW.
- Flight Sergeant John Smith Johnston Stephen (Bomb Aimer). EVD.
- Warrant Officer Robert Edgar Yates, RAAF (Radio Operator). EVD.
- Sergeant Hugh David Davies (Flight Engineer). EVD.
- Sergeant Leslie John Faircloth (Mid Upper Gunner). EVD.
- Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Sonshine, RCAF (Navigator). POW.
- Sergeant, Douglas Foster Jordin (Tail Gunner). POW.
The bravery of these seven young men is beyond question and it is important that their stories are recorded and not forgotten.
In 2019 it will be 75 years since their time with 12 Squadron and their last fateful operation in June 1944.
Updated by Paul Faircloth on 8 February 2019